116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Jaxon Rexroth’s day started at 5 a.m. and ended 17 hours later.
The Cedar Rapids Xavier senior outfielder began the day with a trip to Iowa City, attending weight training as a preferred walk-on for the University of Iowa football team. He returned for a full day of baseball, including morning batting practice and preparation for a Mississippi Valley Conference baseball doubleheader with Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
“I definitely added some naps in there, that’s for sure,” Rexroth said. “I get those in after hitting at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“I love it. It’s fun. It’s good experience. I’m excited for the rest of it.”
Rexroth had four hits – all the extra-base variety – and helped the Saints to a sweep of the Cougars Friday night at Herkelman Field. Xavier won the opener, 7-2, and closed with a 9-5 victory for a ninth win in the last five games.
“It was a fun night of baseball,” Xavier Coach Dan Halter said. “We’re growing. We’re not where we need to be, yet, but we’re getting better. We’ve been steadily improving and that is a fun thing to see. We have to keep at it.”
Rexroth never really considered skipping his last high school baseball season and avoiding the rigorous schedule. He enjoys his teammates too much to miss out on the summer.
“I didn’t want to leave my teammates and my coaches,” Rexroth said. “It’s the best group of guys I’ve been with, so I wanted to finish it out.”
He isn’t the first. Halter mentioned Quinn Schulte did something similar and that worked out well.
“He committed to it and I’m sure glad he did,” Halter said. “I’m so glad he did, because it would be easy for a lot of guys to move on to the next thing. He wants to compete with his buddies and teammates.
“It shows some unselfishness. He shows he loves baseball, loves Xavier and wants to win.”
Rexroth and Kennedy senior Max White, who is also a preferred walk-on, travel to Iowa City multiple times a week together. Both were standout quarterbacks and all-around athletes who bat leadoff. The loss is going to cost White a couple quarters.
“That’s been interesting,” Rexroth said with a laugh. “We had a bet who was going to pay for the parking meter.”
White scored the first run of Game 1, but Xavier battled back with one in the third. The Saints gained the lead for good in the fifth. Jack Lux hit a two-run home run for a 3-1 lead and one that wasn’t relinquished.
The Saints added three in the sixth, including an RBI double and run from Rexroth.
In the nightcap, Rexroth led off with a solo home run. He added two more doubles with one in the six-run sixth. He was able to wait for a pitch in his wheelhouse and capitalized.
“Just have to wait for that spot,” Rexroth said. “Drop, sit and drive the ball.”
Xavier sent 10 batters to the plate, receiving a two-run double from Myles Butkowski and an RBI from Brody Hoffman for a 9-4 lead.
Saints starter Quin Fandel pitched six innings for the win in Game 2. He fanned nine batters and scattered five hits, including three in Kennedy’s four-run third. Alex Neal went six innings for the win in the opener and Hugh Courter closed out both for the Saints.
“Quin is really stepping up for us as a senior and that’s what we love to see,” Halter said. “To be honest, there are some things we didn’t do well from a coaching and defensive aspect. It should have been less than four runs really.
“He competed. He had some tough spots and made quality pitches when he had to with runners in scoring position.”
For Kennedy, Brenden Groth had an RBI groundout to score White in Game 1. Wiley Sullivan’s sacrifice fly to bring in Dylan Davis accounted for the second run.
Sullivan added a two-run double in the four-run third of Game 2. Mason Behn had an RBI double in the same frame, putting the Cougars ahead 4-1. Trevor Scott also doubled, leading to a run for Kennedy.
Davis and Scott had two hits apiece in the opener, while Behn had two in the nightcap.